NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The parents of a 13-year-old girl with special needs are speaking out after their daughter was allegedly assaulted by a bus attendant.
The incident was caught on camera.
Cell phone video appears to show an adult-on-child violent attack on the school bus.
Beleck Valmont is the bus attendant shown, and it looks as though he’s pushing a 13-year-old girl’s head into the seat in front of her.
The girl can be heard telling Valmont “I’ll stop, I’ll stop.”
The victim is 13-year-old India Knox, who is described as developmentally disabled, with the mental capacity of a 5-year-old.
Another adult on the bus who cares for another developmentally disabled student took the video, and along with calling the police, alerted India’s school, the Manhattan Children Center on the Upper West Side, and the girl’s parents Shaheen and Julia Alexandra Knox.
Her parents hired attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who is preparing a lawsuit against the Department of Education, the bus attendant and his employer.
“Clearly this is criminal, this is wrong and this should not be happening to anyone else,” Rubenstein said. “Whether it be a 13-year-old developmentally disabled child, or a 13-year-old normal child. Attendants on school buses are there to help children, not assault them.”
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” India’s father Shaheen Knox said. “My daughter was attacked, and relentlessly attacked in almost a sadistic manner.”
Knox said the incident caused anguish for his family and has left his daughter traumatized.
“Obviously, when first looking at it, I was outraged. Freaking out, crying, upset, disturbed. I mean it’s clearly somebody attacking my child. So what was going through my mind? Just horror, disbelief,” Julia Alexandra Knox said.
There’s been no comment from anyone at Leesel Transportation Co., which employs Valmont.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin spoke to Valmont’s attorney Paul Hirsch, who said he had no comment on the case at this time.
Valmont’s free on bond and is expected back in court Dec. 13.